Boys Over Flowers 25 by Yoko Kamio: B

boysoverflowers25From the back cover:
Tsukushi has an on-and-off romantic entanglement with a hothead named Tsukasa. Tsukasa has a sketchy relationship with his even more hotheaded mother, named Kaede. Kaede has hired a near sociopath to woo Tsukushi and destroy her son’s relationship with Tsukushi once and for all. Will Tsukushi fall for this?!

The fake “cousin” hired by Kaede, whose real name is Amon, is not my favorite character, but calling him a sociopath is pretty extreme. It turns out that, one his guise is dropped, he’s actually not a bad guy. Although he has a cynical outlook on love, and advises Tsukushi on several times not to go through suffering on Tsukasa’s account because their love can only last a maximum of a few years, he is still better able to understand her than most others and offers her a different kind of relationship, free from drama but also free from love.

While this whole idea of Tsukushi dating Amon seems mostly an attempt to postpone the inevitable moment when she and Tsukasa finally, irrevocably get together, it does still offer some worthwhile moments. Tsukasa has grown to see Shigeru as a friend, and has a couple of nice conversations with her, including one in which they finally seem to realize that their hyper-wealthy lives are not normal. Also, though he initially feels like there’s nothing he can do about Tsukushi dating Amon, he somehow (exactly how isn’t clear) resolves that he’s going to make Tsukushi his.

And, okay, yes, this is kind of an antiquated idea, but somehow I love Tsukasa for this unwavering devotion. If both of the lead characters were floundering and uncertain, this series would be a mess. With the looming threat to her friends’ families if she gets near Tsukasa, Tsukushi certainly isn’t going to make the first move, so it’s up to him to help this story go somewhere satisfying. Even though I’m well aware that he’s a fictional character, I still want to cheer him on.

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